Aug 11 2017

This Week in Forensic Science


No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!


This week in forensic science header

UNT DNA Program Funding Could Return (Forensic Magazine – 8/4/2017)

  • The National Institute of Justice grant allowing all the states to send their samples of the nameless dead to UNT for analysis—administered through the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System—could return in the near future, officials said.


Using Bones to Solve Mysteries; ASU Researchers at the Forefront of ‘Biohistory’ ( – 8/5/2017)

  • Researchers in an emerging field called biohistory are trying to get to the bottom of mysteries that span centuries.

    What killed Mozart? Has King Richard III’s body been found?

    Scientists at ASU’s Center for Bioarchaeological Research are at the forefront of the field.


Call for ‘Body Farm’ in UK to Help Police Solve Murder Cases (The Guardian – 8/5/2017)

  • A facility for research into decay process in British conditions would help detectives find missing bodies


Justice Dept. Revives Effort Looking at Forensic Evidence (Forensic Magazine – 8/7/2017)

  • The Justice Department is reviving work on federal standards for what forensic experts can say in court and plans to create a program to monitor the accuracy of forensic testimony.


Man Killed in 9/11 Attacks is Identified by DNA Testing (The New York Times – 8/7/2017)

  • The remains of a man who was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have been positively identified, the New York City medical examiner’s office announced on Monday, amid continuing efforts to return victims’ remains to their loved ones.


Introduction of a Dedicated Gibraltar DNA Database (Gibraltar Chronicle – 8/7/2017)

  • Police have today announced that together with Cellmark Forensic Services in the UK they have established the provision and maintenance of a DNA Database, to complement the existing forensic DNA services already undertaken by the RGP.


Sampling DNA From a 1,000 Year-Old Illuminated Manuscript (The Atlantic – 8/7/2017)

  • A group of archaeologists and geneticists in the United Kingdom have now analyzed the remarkably rich DNA reservoir of the York Gospels. They found DNA from humans who swore oaths on its pages and from bacteria likely originating on the hands and mouths of those humans. Best of all though, they found 1,000-year-old DNA from the cows and sheep whose skin became the parchment on which the book is written.


NIJ Report Outlines Best Practices for Sexual Assault Investigations, Rape Kit Processing (Forensic Magazine – 8/9/2017)

  • A multidisciplinary, victim-centered approach and standardized, efficient evidence processing in sexual assault cases are the focus of a new report by the National Institute of Justice. The report, National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits, released Tuesday, outlines 35 suggestions for laboratories and law enforcement to improve their sexual assault investigations, tackling issues such as evidence collection, storage and maintenance; backlog tracking and processing; victim advocacy and notification; and sensitivity to trauma in sexual assault victims.


DNA Experts Present First Exoneration Based on False Y-STR Inclusion (Forensic Magazine – 8/10/2017)